WikiLeaks cable: NZ country clearance, April 9-12, 2005

March 31, 2005
NZ country clearance, April 9-12, 2005

SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND COUNTRY CLEARANCE, APRIL 9-12, 2005

REF: STATE 58362

Classified By: Political-Economic Counselor Katherine B. Hadda
for reason 1.4 (C)

1. (S) Embassy welcomes and grants country clearance to
National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) representatives to
travel to Wellington, New Zealand April 9-12, 2005. The
purpose of this visit is to meet with New Zealand
counterparts at the Combined Threat Assessment Group.

2. (SBU) Embassy has made hotel reservations within per diem
at the James Cook Hotel, # 47 The Terrace, tel 64-4-499-9500.

3. Control Officer requests that you telephone him upon your
arrival at the hotel. He also advises that any electronic
documents may be transmitted through RMAS channels for
printing at the Embassy.

4. (SBU) All TDY visitors to Embassy Wellington are required
to report to the Regional Security Office for a security
briefing if they have not completed an approved overseas
personal security-training course.

5. (U) Visitors should use local taxi service, which is
generally safe, reliable and frequent. Taxi fare from the
airport to downtown Wellington hotels is approximately NZD
$30.00. A commercial shuttle service is also offered at the
airport.

6. (U) Travelers can exchange currency at the airport upon
arrival and ATM machines are readily available throughout New
Zealand. Check cashing privileges at the Embassy are
restricted to traveler's checks only up to USD $300.00.
Personal checks will not be accepted.

7. (SBU) Biosecurity Fines:

The Government of New Zealand instituted fines for
non-declared biosecurity hazards on travelers entering New
Zealand with undeclared plant, animal or food material.
Travelers found carrying these undeclared items will be
immediately fined NZD $200.00 (USD $150.00). Biosecurity is
a serious issue in New Zealand and fines will be administered
immediately and without warnings.

8. (SBU) Security Information:

a. (SBU) All U.S. citizen personnel serving under the Chief
of Mission authority in a temporary status of 30 days or more
must complete appropriate overseas personal security training
prior to travel (04 State 66580). Employees who have
completed the Security Overseas Seminar course at the Foreign
Service Institute (FSI) after June 1, 2000, meet this
requirement. All other TDY personnel must either (1)
complete the approved seminar at FSI entitled "Serving Abroad
for Families and Employees" (SAFE), or (2) have their agency
certify to the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic
Security that the employee has undergone equivalent security
training. The contact for this training is Assistant
Director for Training at (703) 205-2617. Country clearance
will not be granted for any traveler with planned TDY in
excess of 30 days if this information is not
stated/certified. POC for additional information is RSO
Wellington.

b. (SBU) The U.S. Mission in New Zealand currently rates the
threat from transnational and indigenous terrorism as low.
There are no terrorist groups or support groups believed to
be operating in New Zealand at this time. In light of the
worldwide security alert all visitors should heighten their
security awareness and report any unusual incidents to the
Regional Security Officer.

c. (SBU) Anonymous telephonic threats and obscure threat
mail have occasionally targeted U.S. diplomatic missions in
New Zealand. In response to U.S. policies and actions,
various groups in New Zealand have demonstrated occasionally
at the Embassy in Wellington and at the Consulate in
Auckland. These demonstrations are usually small and are
peacefully conducted. During these demonstrations, the host
country police and protective services normally provide
adequate protection to the Embassy and Consulate.
d. (SBU) New Zealand is considered a medium threat crime
environment. As such, Wellington and Auckland have
experienced an increase in violent and petty crimes, but they
are usually non-confrontational in nature. However, home
invasion robberies and assaults, once very rare, are becoming
more frequent. Burglaries and thefts occur countrywide but
primarily in the large cities of Auckland, Christchurch and
Wellington, and visitors should be especially aware that
street crime, such as scams and pickpockets, is a daily
occurrence in these cities. Common sense precautions should
be taken, especially at night, to avoid becoming a target of
opportunity.

e. (SBU) Generally, New Zealand does not play a significant
role in the world drug situation; however, evidence indicates
that New Zealand has been utilized as a transit point for
shipments of Ecstasy, Heroin and Cocaine to Australia. The
most abused drugs in New Zealand are locally produced
methamphetamine and cannabis. There have been increased
amounts of lab seizures and violent crime associated with
groups attempting to control this market.

f. (U) All forms of public transportation are generally safe
at all times of the day; however, at night visitors should
use common sense precautions so as not to become a target of
opportunity.

g. (U) The traffic situation in Auckland can be difficult
with a moderate amount of congestion. Wellington and
Christchurch traffic is significantly better; however, during
rush hour moderate delays can be expected. Visitors are
advised that traffic drives on the left-hand side of the
road. Visitors are advised that traffic accidents are common
and that it is safe to pull over so that police may take an
accident report. However, visitors who experience hostility
or anti-American sentiment should depart the scene
immediately and notify the RSO.

h. (SBU) Travelers intending to bring and use any USG
provided electronic or photographic equipment must contact
the RSO prior to introducing that equipment into the
Chancery. Personal electronic or photographic equipment is
not permitted in the Chancery. Only in severely limited
cases will a notebook or laptop computer be permitted to be
used in the Chancery.

i. (U) Precautions should also be taken to not discuss
sensitive or classified information outside secure
environments or over unsecured and/or cellular telephones,
and to securely safeguard classified or sensitive information
at the Chancery and not at hotels or residences.

j. (U) Visitors should also be aware of the State
Department's Consular Information sheet for New Zealand and
the most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcements, which
are available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov

k. (U) In essence, visitors to New Zealand must exercise
appropriate caution and be alert to their surroundings with
regard to their personal security. Suspicious
incidents/activities should be reported to RSO Wellington.
Burnett


- Herald on Sunday

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